Vol. 4 Num 217 Sat. January 03, 2004    
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Front Pagearrow Accord on three pacts before Saarc summit
South Asia's foreign ministers have agreed on three key pacts to be signed at a landmark regional summit opening in Islamabad this weekend, India's Foreign Secretary Shashank said yesterday.
 arrow Cold front kills 51 in 3 days
At least 51 people, mostly children and the elderly, died in the last three days from the cold front that swept much of Bangladesh with chill wind and heavy fog amid overcast conditions.
 arrow Giant health plan, little success
The giant Health and Population Sector Programme (HPSP) has fallen far short of achieving its major goals, including curbs on high rates of maternal and child mortality, in its five-year life-span.
 arrow From broken homes to a golden future
Asma is a national karate award winner, a brilliant student at the top of her class and at 15, is a precocious cultural talent.
 arrow Non-stop hartal if govt uses force, warns Jalil
Repeated infringement of organisational activities of the Awami League (AL) has forced the main opposition party to opt for a political hard line and an early showdown against the BNP-led alliance government,
 arrow PM leaves today for Islamabad
Prime Minister Khaleda Zia leaves Dhaka today to lead the Bangladesh delegation to the 12th Saarc Summit beginning in Islamabad tomorrow.
 arrow AL enforces dawn-to-dusk hartal today
The main opposition Awami League (AL) is set to enforce a dawn-to-dusk countrywide hartal today to protest what it said was infringement on the opposition's democratic and political rights and killings
 arrow Bush hopes Indo-Pak dialogue at summit
US President George W Bush has expressed the hope that India and Pakistan will initiate a dialogue on a variety of issues during the Saarc summit beginning tomorrow.
 arrow N Korea agrees to allow US experts to visit nuke site
North Korea has agreed to allow a US delegation to visit its main nuclear complex next week, a South Korean official said yesterday.
 arrow US soldier killed as chopper 'downed'
A US soldier was killed and another was wounded in a helicopter crash in central Iraq yesterday while ethnic tensions flared again in the oil-rich northern city of Kirkuk, leading to at least one death.
 arrow Tremor shakes Bali
At least one person was killed and nine injured when an earthquake and aftershocks shook tourists and residents from their beds early yesterday on the Indonesian resort islands of Bali and neighbouring
 arrow Sunken vessels to be removed from Ctg port channel soon
Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) will start salvaging three sunken coaster vessels from its 'alfa' anchorage (deep draft area) in the port channel by the middle of this month, port sources said.
 arrow Bomb attack in Khulna kills Jubo League leader
Nazrul Islam Nazu, 38, a Jubo League leader of Rupsha upazila, was killed in a bomb blast at a slum near Rupsha bus stand yesterday afternoon.
 arrow Hasina visits houses of three peacekeepers
Awami League President and Leader of the Opposition in Parliament Sheikh Hasina yesterday visited the residences of three army officers, killed along with 12 others in a plane crash in the West African
 arrow Nab Banshkhali killers in two weeks: Dr Kamal
Gono Forum President Dr Kamal Hossain yesterday gave a two-week ultimatum to the government to bring the perpetrators of Banshkhali carnage to book, saying a mass probe commission would be formed otherwise
 arrow Indian pirates kidnap 10 Bangladeshis from Sundarbans
Indian pirates kidnapped 10 Bangladeshis at gunpoint from Pashurtola area in the Sundarbans under Shyamnagar upazila yesterday and demanded Tk 10 lakh ransom for their release.
 arrow 2 contractors shot, 2 traders stabbed, banker mugged in city
Two contractors were shot, two traders stabbed and a banker was mugged in the city's Mirpur, Nawabpur and Motijheel areas yesterday.
 arrow India, Pakistan swap nuke list
Nuclear rivals India and Pakistan have swapped the lists of their nuclear installations for a 13th straight year in line with an agreement to hand over such information annually, a statement said.
 arrow Anxiously waiting

 arrow Rescues dry up in Iran a week after tremor
The trickle of survivors pulled alive from the rubble of the Bam earthquake dried up yesterday, one week after the pre-dawn tremor struck.
 arrow Anti-Ahmadiyya group issues fresh threat
An alliance of Muslim fundamentalists yesterday took oath to launch a holy war (jihad) against Ahmadiyyas if the government does not declare them non-Muslims by January 9.
Businessarrow Agriculture gets little support as govt agencies falter
Agriculture alone contributes 25 per cent to the country's GDP, but gets little support from the government in terms of marketing and storage and timely supply of inputs, including quality seeds and fertilisers.
 arrow People flock to Dhaka int'l trade fair braving cold snap
People flocked to Dhaka Inter-national Trade Fair 2004 yesterday braving the cold snap although stalls are yet to be fully decorated.
 arrow Bluff of the year: BTTB and VoIP legalisation
The BNP-led alliance government maintained its unclear profile in the telecom sector throughout 2003. The government remained non-performing in this vibrant industry since assuming power in October 2001.
 arrow Storage deficit stymies processed food exports
Bangladesh has excellent potential for exporting processed fruits and vegetables but the agro-based food processing sector is still in its infancy due to lack of storage and transport facilities.
 arrow Sonali Bank cuts interest rates
Sonali Bank has reduced its interest rates on loans and advances to accelerate commerce and industrial activities.

The new rates took effect from January 1, says a press release.

 arrow New chairman, vice-chairman of BJMA
Mirza Ali Behrouze Ispahani, vice-chairman of Ispahani Group of Jute Mills, and Kamran T Rahman, deputy managing director of Pubali Jute Mills Ltd, have been elected chairman and vice-chairman of theBangladesh
 arrow Premier Bank's pre-audit operating profit stands at Tk 400.90m
Premier Bank Limited made a Tk 400.90 million pre-audit operating profit in 2003.

This was told at the annual managers' conference of the bank held in Dhaka on Thursday, says a press release.

 arrow India's South Asia currency dream seen unrealistic
In a couple of decades, South Asia's biggest economy, India, hopes to share a currency with Pakistan, its adversary of the past five decades, and tiny neighbours such as the Maldives and Bhutan.
 arrow South Asian CEOs set to form regional grouping
South Asian corporate chiefs plan to launch a forum to push for free trade and investment in the region ahead of a seven-nation summit in Islamabad, an Indian trade leader said Friday.
 arrow China confiscates 186 tons of US beef
China has confiscated 186 tons of US beef products in Beijing during a meat market inspection amid fears the meat could be contaminated with mad cow disease, state media reported Friday.
 arrow Gold edges higher at start of new year
The gold price edged higher in Europe at the start of the new year on Friday, with selling on the morning fix paring gains.

Gold was trading at $415.75/$416.25 at 6:07 a.m. EST, having fixed at $415.

 arrow Yearly Forex Roundup 2003
International FX Market

US dollar

US stepped into the year 2003 with a chilly start, intensified by the September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.

Sportsarrow Football: Itigo ignites MSC
Mohammedan's striker from Cameroon Itigo struck the second hattrick in the Western Union Premier Division Football League as the holders drubbed Badda Jagarani Sangsad 4-0 at the Sher-e-Bangla National
 arrow Cricket: Al-Shahriar show
Bangladesh discard Al-Shahriar entertained the crowd on a chilly Friday to propel one-day holders Dhaka to a four-wicket win over Khulna in the Ispahani Tea Fifth National Cricket League at the Dhanmondi
 arrow Cricket: Sachin puts India atop
Sachin Tendulkar finally came good with a half-century as India attempted to take the steam out of Steve Waugh's farewell fourth Test bash at the Sydney Cricket Ground here on Friday.
 arrow Cricket: Peace beyond the boundary?
As India's prime minister heads to Pakistan this weekend, millions of cricket lovers in both countries will pray nothing ruins India's first Test tour of Pakistan in 15 years slated for March.
 arrow Cricket: Rudolph rescues SA
Jacques Rudolph held the South African innings together after the West Indies made inroads on the home team's in-form batting line-up on the first day of the third Test at Newlands on Friday.
 arrow Cricket: First ODI today
The cricketing gods have dealt Pakistan all the aces for the one-day series against New Zealand starting here Saturday.
 arrow Cricket: Asia Cup likely in July
The Asia Cup, the symbol of limited-overs cricket supremacy in the continent, is expected to be held in July after officials decided against clubbing it with India's upcoming tour of Pakistan.
 arrow Cricket: Buchanan remains positive
Australian coach John Buchanan is hoping for a repeat of the previous Test when India relinquished a strong opening day position after the tourists batted themselves to a healthy 284 for three in thefinal
 arrow Cricket: Croft calls it a day
England off-spinner Robert Croft announced his retirement from international cricket on Friday.
 arrow Cricket: India's tour of Bangladesh on
The India cricket team will arrive in Bangladesh in mid-April to play their first full series.
 arrow Handball: Cute handball
Bangladesh Police defeated Dhaka Mariner's Young Club 40-33 in the Cute Premier Handball League at the Handball Ground yesterday.

The winners led the first half 19-16.

 arrow Chess: Masuda gets 1st position
Masuda Begum secured the first position in the preliminary phase of 25th National Women's Chess Championship at the NSC yesterday.

Since Masuda and other 4 players earned 5.

 arrow Cricket: 9,000-dulkar!
Indian batting great Sachin Tendulkar became only the fourth player in Test cricket to pass 9,000 runs during the opening day of the fourth Test against Australia here on Friday.
 arrow Football: Ronaldo sets New Year's goal
After a near-perfect 2003, Brazilian ace Ronaldo says he hopes for more of the same in the New Year: lots of goals, trophies and no injuries.
 arrow Football: Liverpool's Div Three trial!
Liverpool face renowned giant-killers Yeovil in the third round of the FA Cup this weekend with even some Anfield loyalists saying defeat could mark the end of Gerard Houllier's managerial reign.
 arrow Football: Nakata bitter
Japanese midfielder Hidetoshi Nakata hit out at Parma coach Cesare Prandelli after confirming his departure on a six-month loan deal to Italian Serie-A rivals Bologna.
 arrow Football: Cisse's choice
France striker Djibril Cisse said he still intended to sign for Liverpool at the end of the current European season, Britain's Daily Star tabloid reported Friday.
 arrow Football: Moratti believes in Vieri
Inter Milan president Massimo Moratti says sought-after striker Christian Vieri still has a big part to play in the club's future despite intense speculation linking the Italy international with a move
 arrow Football: Barthez finally Marseille's
French first division side Olympique Marseille confirmed Friday they have signed Manchester United's French international goalkeeper Fabien Barthez on loan until June.
Metropolitanarrow Govt yet to decide on reserved seats in JS
Over two years have passed since the takeover, but the government is yet to decide how to reintroduce reserve seats for women in parliament.
 arrow Int'l confce on thermal engineering begins
A three-day International Conference on Thermal Engineering began on the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) campus yesterday.
 arrow Ultimatum for repair of CU building
Arts faculty teachers of Chittagong University (CU) on Thursday gave a two-month ultimatum to the authorities concerned to renovate the faculty building which is now on the verge of collapse.
 arrow Slum dwellers protest eviction
Bangladesh Bastibasi Union, an organisation of the slum dwellers, yesterday formed a human chain at Muktangon in the city protesting the eviction of slum dwellers from Kalyanpur area.
 arrow 18 houses gutted in Ctg
Eighteen houses were gutted in a devastating fire at Agrabad in the port city yesterday.

The blaze started from an electrical short circuit at around 4.

 arrow Body of maid recovered
The body of a domestic help was recovered at Lalkhan Bazar Magistrate Colony in the city yesterday morning.
 arrow Maid 'commits' suicide
A teenage domestic help allegedly committed suicide in the city on January 1.

The victim was identified as Nilufar Begum, 13.

 arrow Kofi Annan condoles death of army officers
United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan has condoled the deaths of 15 Bangladeshi UN peacekeepers in a plane crash in Benin on December 25.
 arrow Over 1,000 held,8 firearms recovered
Police arrested 1,099 more people, including one listed criminal, during their ongoing countrywide drive in last 24 hours till 6.00am yesterday.
Nationalarrow Punish culprits or face news blackout
Newsmen of southern districts at a convention to protest "repression on journalists" here yesterday demanded arrest and punishment of persons responsible for the acts and threatened of a blackout of administration's
 arrow Ferry service faces collapse at Teesta Mukh Ghat
Ferry service with Bahadurabad Ghat has become irregular as erosion has taken an alarming turn at Teesta Mukh Ghat in Fulchhari here since December 15.
 arrow Discontent brewing as govt sitting on half-done project
Despite demonstrations by people, work on the Tk 90 crore Sylhet Town Protection Project is suspended for the last one year due to administrative redtapism.
 arrow Live REB cable, 15 transformers stolen in Gopalganj
Electric equipment and goods worth about Tk five lakh of the Rural Electrification Board (REB), Gopalganj have been stolen from different supply lines and REB sheds in different areas of the district.
 arrow A year of crimes in Ctg
Crimes increased and took a new turn in Chittagong last year.

Over 1,500 crimes including 265 murders and 500 robberies were recorded in the district during the period.

 arrow Discussion on Zainul Abedin
A discussion was held at the Zainul Abedin Sangrahashala auditorium here marking the 89th birth anniversary of Shilpacharja Zainul Abedin on December 31.
 arrow Man gets 3 years RI for denying wife's rights
A court here on Monday sentenced a man to three years rigorous imprisonment (RI) for not recognising his wife legally.
 arrow SUST Teachers' Assoc polls Jan 5
Election of Shahjalal University of Science and Technology Teachers Association (SUSTTA) will be held on January 5.
 arrow Midnight gunshot frightens RU hall residents
An incident of gun shot and bomb blast at midnight frightened the resident students of all 11 male dormitories of the university on Tuesday.
 arrow Extortionist killed
An extortionist was beaten to death by mob and another received critical injuries at Malmary village under Gangnj upazila in Meherpur district on Saturday night.
 arrow Pneumonia claims 10 in Mymensingh
Pneumonia claimed 10 lives in three upazilas here in December last year.

Eight of them hailed from Nandail upazila, and one each from Phulbaria and Gouripur upazilas.

 arrow RUTA election on January 15
Election to the 15-member executive committee of the Rajshahi University Teachers' Association (RUTA) will be held on January 15.
 arrow Boy killed in Bhola fire
A child was roasted alive and 12 people were injured, five of them critically, in two fire incidents at Dularhat village in Charfession upazila on Thursday.
Point-Counterpointarrow Police reform
Recently renewed debate and discussions on reforms of the police as a vital state institution have been taking place.
 arrow World economy: Calm before the storm
The global growth engine is finally moving into high gear.
 arrow Low growth to prosperity: Do we have any human resource development strategy?
The condition of endogenous growth may have a strong link with basic foundation of human capital.
Culturearrow Kaash
The word 'if' refers to a condition, a state of action resulting in an effect, critically becomes the title for Akram Khan's dance project in Hindi--Kaash.
 arrow Content with nature
One saw Shamsul Alam Azad's inherent love for nature in all his paintings recently exhibited at Chitrak. He says that he does not base his works on the forms found in nature.
 arrow Preview-- Gupi Gain Bagha Bain
Famous filmmaker Satyajit Ray presented the movie version of Upendra Roy Chawdhury's popular short story Gupi Gain Bagha Bain.
 arrow Movies to come
The year of 2004, may still be the year that most producers and directors are looking forward to.
Generalarrow 'Invest more in IT sector to boost development'
Housing and Publics Works Minister Mirza Abbas yesterday called for more investment in the information technology (IT) sector to accelerate the development process in the greater interest of nationaleconomy.
 arrow Nasa probe heads for close encounter with comet
After a five-year voyage of two billion miles Nasa's spacecraft Stardust is finally nearing the climax of its mission -- a close encounter with a comet to grab dust samples that could yield clues to the
 arrow 'New world' link to Arctic fond
Russian scientists have found evidence of people living in Arctic Siberia during the Ice Age, who could turn out to be ancestors of the first Americans.
 arrow Jasim Palli Mela begins
A fortnight-long fair, 'Jasim Palli Mela', began at Ambikapur here on Thursday.
 arrow Tarun Dal member stabbed to death in Khulna
A young man was stabbed to death by unidentified assailants at Gallamari in the city yesterday evening.

The victim, Baratul Islam Liton, 27, was a member of the city unit of Jatiyatabadi Tarun Dal.

 arrow 'Friends' stab drug peddler to death
Friends allegedly stabbed to death Jahangir Hossain, 30, a delinquent, at Shantinagar in the city last night.
 arrow Mother, son killed in road accident
A woman and her two-year-old son were killed in a road accident at China Bridge crossing in the town on Thursday.
 arrow Gazipur JSD president dies
Mohammad Saru Mia, president of Gazipur district Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD) and editor of a local daily, the Gazir Desh, died of a cardiac arrest here early yesterday at 58.
Internationalarrow Current peace move is my last attempt: Vajpayee
Asserting that the current peace initiative with Pakistan was his "last attempt", Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee has said terrorism was the biggest obstacle in the way of solving Kashmir and other
 arrow India for joint operation with Myanmar against rebels
India is training troops in Myanmar for a possible joint operation against anti-Indian rebels amid a similar crackdown in the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, the chief of the Indian army said yesterday.
 arrow Red alert in Pakistan for Saarc summit
Pakistan's massive security clampdown went into top gear here yesterday for the forthcoming Saarc regional summit as army helicopters buzzed low over the capital, which resembled a city under siege.
 arrow Bush denies policy shift on Iran
US President George W Bush has said that moves to help Iran in the wake of the earthquake are not a sign of a thaw in relations with Tehran.
 arrow Britain, Mexico cancel flights to US
Britain and Mexico canceled flights to the United States while US warplanes have been tailing in-bound Air France flights for fear attackers might try to crash them into American targets, US officials
 arrow Pak nukes are 'secure': Bush
US President George W. Bush said Thursday that Pakistan's nuclear arsenal was "secure" following two failed assassination attempts on President Pervez Musharraf in the last three weeks.
Editorialarrow Editorial: Arms recovery
Once again the law enforcers have recovered heavy weapons in Bandarban, following a firefight with terrorists. It is evident that the conduits of arms supply are very much open.
 arrow Editorial: Chill in the air
The weather forecasters have said that the cold wave is likely to stay for a few more days. As the temperature dips further, sufferings will increase; complications will arise.
 arrow Muslims in France and Europe in general
France's efforts to preserve the country's secular identity while integrating France's Muslim population (the largest in Western Europe) has drawn attention once again to the Islamic identity as existent
 arrow Will shadows lengthen in New Year?
If a New Year were to be a break with the past, what a clean slate it would be to start from? There would be no baggage to carry, no failures to recall and no betrayals to irk.
Letters to Editorarrow PM's visit to DU
Recently our venerable Prime Minister visited Dhaka University for conferring gold medals to the meritorious students of various departments for their outstanding performance in honors final exam.
 arrow Imam training: A pragmatic step
Imam training programme initiated by the present government is not only a pragmatic step but also a timely one. Imams are the most venerable people of our society.
 arrow Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Shaheed Ziaur Rahman
Many of our Awami League leaders say that Bangobandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman is the father of the nation. They do not care for Shaheed Ziaur Rahman.
 arrow Tribute to our heroes
First of all I would like to salute those brave boys the country has ever produced. I am speaking of our peacekeepers whose sad demise has left us crying on the eve of the New Year.